Teacher's aide to stand trial for alleged student romps

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In a surprising move, a judge pulled a plea deal Monday and jury selection began for a New Windsor teacher's aide accused of rape.

Former McQuade Children's Services employee Maria Zurita was about to accept the deal when the judge pulled it off the table. The move came after Zurita accused another woman of lying about the incident. The judge said, "If she wants to testify, she can take the stand."

Zurita will now stand trial for third-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child.

She allegedly had sex at her home last May with two 16-year-old boys from McQuade. The nonprofit school serves troubled and special needs children.

Former McQuade teacher Rebecca Becker pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in September. School officials had hoped Zurita's case would also be resolved quickly.

"The damage that was done to the kids is one that lasts a long time," said McQuade President and CEO David Jacobsen. "I know it's been a struggle for us ? in trying to recover from that."

According to Jacobsen, the school has revamped its staff training.

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